Anton Szandor LaVey, (April 11, 1930 – October 29, 1997) born Howard Stanton Levey, was the American founder and High Priest of the Church of Satan as well as a writer, occultist, and musician. He was the author of The Satanic Bible and the founder of LaVeyan Satanism, a synthesized system of his understanding of human nature and the insights of philosophers who advocated economic materialism and individualism.
Ancestry and early life
LaVey was born as Howard Stanton Levey in Chicago, Illinois to Jewish parents. His father, Michael Joseph Levey, was a liquor distributor and second-generation French-American from Omaha, Nebraska. His grandfather, Leon Levey, was born in Paris, France and emigrated to Douglas County, Nebraska in 1886, where he married Louisville-native Emma Goldsmith on October 23, 1888. Anton's mother, Gertrude Augusta Coultron, was born to Russian father and Ukrainian mother whom emigrated to Ohio in 1893, and both became naturalized American citizens in 1900.
His family soon moved to California, where he spent most of his early life in the San Francisco Bay Area and later in Globe, Arizona. According to his biography, his ancestry includes French, Russian, Ukrainian, Alsatian, German, Georgian, and Romanian stock. His parents supported the development of his musical abilities as he tried his hand at various instruments, his favorite being keyboards such as the pipe organ and the calliope.
LaVey's biography tells of his dropping out of Globe High School in his junior year to join a circus and carnivals, first as a roustabout and cage boy in an act with the big cats, later as a musician playing the calliope. LaVey later noted that seeing many of the same men attending both the bawdy Saturday night shows and the tent revival meetings on Sunday mornings reinforced his increasingly cynical view of religion. He later had many stints as an organist in bars, lounges, and nightclubs. While playing organ in Los Angeles burlesque houses, he reportedly had a brief affair with the then-unknown Marilyn Monroe as she was dancing at the Mayan Theater. This claim has been challenged by those who knew Monroe at the time, as well as the manager of the Mayan, Paul Valentine, who stated that she had never been one of his dancers, nor had the theater ever been used as a burlesque house or for "bump and grind" shows.
According to his biography, LaVey moved back to San Francisco where he worked for three years as a photographer for the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). He also dabbled as a psychic investigator, looking into "800 calls" referred to him by the police department. Later biographers have questioned whether LaVey ever worked with the SFPD, as there are no records substantiating the claim.
In 1950, LaVey met Carole Lansing and they married the following year. Lansing gave birth to LaVey's first daughter, Karla LaVey, born in 1952. They divorced in 1960 after LaVey became entranced by Diane Hegarty. Hegarty and LaVey never married, however she was his companion for many years, and mothered his second daughter, Zeena Galatea LaVey, in 1963. At the end of their relationship, Hegarty sued for palimony.
Beginnings as Satanist
Becoming a local celebrity through his paranormal research and live performances as an organist, including playing the Wurlitzer at the Lost Weekend cocktail lounge, he attracted many San Francisco notables to his parties. Guests included Carin de Plessin, Michael Harner, Chester A. Arthur III, Forrest J. Ackerman, Fritz Leiber, Dr. Cecil E. Nixon, and Kenneth Anger.
LaVey began presenting Friday night lectures on the occult to what he called a "Magic Circle" of associates who shared his interests. A member of this circle suggested that he had the basis for a new religion. On Walpurgisnacht, April 30, 1966, he ritualistically shaved his head in the tradition of ancient executioners, declared the founding of the Church of Satan and proclaimed 1966 as "the year One", Anno Satanas—the first year of the Age of Satan. Media attention followed the subsequent Satanic wedding ceremony of radical journalist John Raymond to New York socialite Judith Case on February 1, 1967. The Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle were among the newspapers that printed articles dubbing him "The Black Pope". LaVey performed Satanic baptisms (including one for Zeena) and Satanic funerals (including one for naval machinist-repairman third-class Edward Olsen, complete with a chrome-helmeted honor guard), and released a record album entitled The Satanic Mass.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, LaVey melded ideological influences from Ayn Rand, Friedrich Nietzsche, Aleister Crowley, H.L. Mencken, and Jack London with the ideology and ritual practices of the Church of Satan. He wrote essays introduced with reworked excerpts from Ragnar Redbeard’s Might is Right and concluded with “Satanized” versions of John Dee’s Enochian Keys to create books such as The Satanic Bible, The Compleat Witch (re-released in 1989 as The Satanic Witch), and The Satanic Rituals.
Due to increasing visibility through his books, LaVey was the subject of numerous articles in the news media throughout the world, including popular magazines such as Look, McCall's, Newsweek, and Time, and men’s magazines. He also appeared on talk shows such as Joe Pyne, Phil Donahue, and Johnny Carson, and in a feature length documentary called Satanis: The Devil's Mass in 1970.
LaVey’s third and final companion was Blanche Barton. Barton and LaVey are the parents of Satan Xerxes Carnacki LaVey, born November 1, 1993. She succeeded herself as the head of the Church after his death, and has since stepped down from that role and handed the reins of power to Magus Peter H. Gilmore.
Anton LaVey died on October 29, 1997, in St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco of pulmonary edema. He was taken to St. Mary's, a Catholic hospital, because it was the closest available. For reasons open to speculation, the time and date of his death was incorrectly (by two days) listed as the morning of Halloween on his death certificate. His daughter Zeena Schreck claimed responsibility for LaVey's death through putting a ritual curse on him. A secret Satanic funeral, attended by invitation only, was held in Colma. LaVey's body was cremated, with his ashes eventually divided among his heirs as part of a settlement, on the assumption that they possess occult potency, and can be used for acts of Satanic ritual magic.
Books by LaVey
- The Satanic Bible (Avon, 1969, ISBN 0-380-01539-0)
- The Compleat Witch, or, What to do When Virtue Fails (Dodd, Mead, 1971, ISBN 0-396-06266-0); republished as The Satanic Witch (Feral House, 1989, ISBN 0-922915-00-8); re-released with an introduction by Peggy Nadramia, and an afterword by Blanche Barton (2003, ISBN 0-922915-84-9).
- The Satanic Rituals (Avon, 1972, ISBN 0-380-01392-4)
- The Devil's Notebook (Feral House, 1992, ISBN 0-922915-11-3)
- Satan Speaks!, introduction by Blanche Barton, foreword by Marilyn Manson (Feral House, 1998, ISBN 0-922915-66-0)
Books featuring writings by LaVey
- "Misanthropia", Rants and Incendiary Tracts: Voices of Desperate Illuminations 1558-Present!, edited by Bob Black and Adam Parfrey (Amok Press and Loompanics Unlimited, 1989, ISBN 0-941693-03-1)
- "The Invisible War", Apocalypse Culture: Expanded & revised edition, edited by Adam Parfrey (Amok Press, 1990, ISBN 0-922915-05-9)
- "Forward", Might is Right, or The Survival of the Fittest by Ragnar Redbeard, LL.D., edited by Katja Lane (M.H.P. & Co., Ltd, 1996, ISBN 0-915179-12-1)(respected the book of the dead)
Books about LaVey
- The Devil's Avenger: A Biography of Anton Szandor LaVey by Burton H. Wolfe (Pyramid Books, 1974, ISBN 0-515-03471-1, Out of print)
- The Secret Life Of A Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey by Blanche Barton (Feral House, 1990, ISBN 0-922915-12-1)
- Popular Witchcraft: Straight from the Witch's Mouth by Jack Fritscher ; featuring Anton LaVey (University of Wisconsin Press : Popular Press, 2004, ISBN 0-299-20300-X, hardcover, ISBN 0-299-20304-2, paperback)
- The 2009 play Debate by Irish author Seán Ferrick features LaVey as a character. He is one of four witnesses in a case between God and The Devil, and events from both his life and after his death are used as evidence. He was portrayed by Mark O'Brien and Fiachra MacNamara
Recordings of Anton LaVey
- The Satanic Mass, LP (Murgenstrumm Records, 1968; re-released on CD with one bonus track, "Hymn of the Satanic Empire, or The Battle Hymn of the Apocalypse", by Amarillo Records, 1994; Mephisto Media, 2001)
- Answer Me/Honolulu Baby, 7" single (Amarillo Records, 1993)
- Strange Music, 10" EP (Amarillo Records, 1994; now available through Reptilian Records)
- Satan Takes A Holiday, CD (Amarillo Records, 1995; now available through Reptilian Records)
|High Priest of the Church of Satan
Peter H. Gilmore after vacancy
- Wright, Lawrence - "It’s Not Easy Being Evil in a World That’s Gone to Hell", Rolling Stone, September 5, 1991: 63-68, 105-16.
- Ancestry of Anton LaVey
- Barton, Blanche The Secret Life of a Satanist
- The Church of Satan by Michael Aquino p. 17-19, detailing information from Harry Lipton, Monroe's agent, Paul Valentine and Edward Webber"
- "Satan's Den in Great Disrepair". San Francisco Chronicle. January 25, 1999. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=%2Fchronicle%2Farchive%2F1999%2F01%2F25%2FMN77329.DTL. Retrieved 2009-09-16. "Both Karla LaVey [sic] and Schreck were the product of LaVey's common-law marriage to Diane Hegarty from 1962 to 1986. One of the highlights of that unholy union was Schreck's 1967 satanic baptism at the Black House, when she was 3 years old."
- "Palimony Suit Rests on Bed of Nails". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. September 11, 1988. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=SL&p_theme=sl&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB328CE29A0D936&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Retrieved 2009-09-16. "On paper, the agreement seemed friendly enough: She got the 1967 Jaguar. He got the 1936 Cord, the 1972 Datsun 280 and the 1976 Cadillac limousine. Still to be decided were the medieval torture implements, the crystal ball, the devil bust, the bed of nails and the classic wooden coffin. But now, the whole thing has become a devil of an issue in San Francisco Superior Court, as the nation's first prince and princess of darkness square off in legal proceedings."
- "The End is Near". Chicago Tribune. September 13, 1988. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/24828128.html?dids=24828128:24828128&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Sep+13%2C+1988&author=Richard+Phillips&pub=Chicago+Tribune+%28pre-1997+Fulltext%29&desc=THE+END+IS+NEAR-AGAIN&pqatl=google. Retrieved 2009-09-16. "Anton Szandor LaVey, high priest of San Francisco's Church of Satan, lived with Diane Hegarty for 22 years. Now they are squaring off in a palimony suit over household property."
- Lewis, James R. "Who Serves Satan? A Demographic and Ideological Profile". Marburg Journal of Religion. June 2001.
- "Anton LaVey; Founded the Church of Satan". Los Angeles Times. November 8, 1997. "Anton LaVey, who founded the Church of Satan in 1966 and wrote the "Satanic Bible" as a guide for international followers, has died at the age of 67. LaVey was cremated Tuesday after a satanic funeral at Woodlawn Memorial Chapel in Colma. Security concerns led his daughter, Church of Satan High Priestess Karla LaVey, to demand "absolute secrecy from all who knew of LaVey's death and satanic funeral," family spokesman Lee Houskeeper said. ..."
Writings by LaVey
- The Nine Satanic Statements
- The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth
- The Nine Satanic Sins
- Pentagonal Revisionism: A Five-Point Program, 1988
- The World’s Most Powerful Religion
- Enochian Pronunciation Guide
- Letters From The Devil from The National Insider, Vol. 14, No. 17, April 27, 1969.
- On Occultism of the Past from The Cloven Hoof, September, 1971 c.e., Volume Three, Number Nine.
Interviews with LaVey
- Section concerning Anton LaVey in Chapter XII (Satan in the Suburbs) of "Occult America" by John Godwin (Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1972)
- Section concerning Anton LaVey in "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sorcery, But Were Afraid to Ask" by Arlene J. Fitzgerald (Manor Books, 1973)
- “Anton LaVey: America’s Satanic Master of Devils, Magic, Music, and Madness” by Walt Harrington in The Washington Post Magazine, February 23, 1986.
- “Anton LaVey / The Church of Satan Interview” by Eugene Robinson in "The Birth of Tragedy", No. 4 “The God Issue”, November 1986 - January 1987
- "Dinner with the Devil: An evening with Anton Szandor LaVey, the High Priest of the Church of Satan" by Reverend Bob Johnson in High Society, August, 1994.
- "The Doctor is in......" by Shane & Amy Bugbee in "MF Magazine" #3, Summer 1997.
- Interview with Anton LaVey by Michelle Carr and Elvia Lahman, originally published in the September 11, 1997 Velvet Hammer souvenir programme.
- Anton Szandor LaVey: A Biographical Sketch by Magus Peter H. Gilmore, on the Church of Satan's official website.
- Anton Lavey by Alex Burns at disinformation.
- The Anton Szandor LaVey Memorial
- Anton LaVey Memorial Tribute by Magus Peter H. Gilmore
- Anton Szandor Lavey: In memorium
- Anton Szandor LaVey tribute
- Anton LaVey at the Internet Movie Database
- Find A Grave Entry
- People of Significance entry for LaVey
- Anton LaVey entry on NNDB
- Short biographical sketch with particular focus on his influence on Marilyn Manson, taken from "Spin magazine" (February 1998, pg. 64).
- "Has the Church of Satan Gone to Hell?" by Jack Boulware "SF Weekly", Jun 17, 1998
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Anton LaVey. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|